Thursday, August 03, 2006

Tribe impeaches leader, is snarled in abortion battle

KYLE, S.D. - Cecelia Fire Thunder likes to recount the legend of the White Buffalo Calf Woman, who delivered the sacred pipe and its teachings to the Lakota nation. Long ago, the legend goes, two men encountered a holy woman who first appeared to them as a white buffalo calf. One man, awe-struck, prayed. The other had lustful thoughts and tried to grab the woman. He was turned into a pile of bones. "The first teaching of the pipe is sexual respect for women," said Fire Thunder, the first female president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Fire Thunder told the story recently to the tribal council, which had convened to impeach her over her support for an abortion clinic on the reservation. It did no good: The formidable, outspoken president was found guilty of overstepping her authority and ousted less than five months before the end of her two-year term.

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